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1953 Chrysler Fluid Drive Transmission


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I am new to this group. I hope I can get some help with my car. It is a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Newport, 2-door hardtop. It has lost high gear. Does anyone know where we can get a kit to rebuild the transmission? Any help would be greatly appreciate. Thanks.

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Phillips50:

Let me understand which transmission you have because there were several available on Chrysler products in 1953 and '54.

You say it's Fluid Drive, but being a New Yorker, it's a V-8 model, and therefore it's either a fully-automatic Powerflite transmission or a semi-automatic Fluid Torque transmission. It's easy to tell the difference. If it's a Powerflite, it's a fully-automatic two-speed transmission just like a modern automatic. If it's a Fluid Torque model, there will be a clutch pedal on the floor, and you'll have to ease off the gas for it to shift between gears.

If it's a Powerflite, you'll have to see a reputable automatic transmission shop, but if it's a Fluid Torque semi-automatic, I can help you, and the good news is that you probably haven't "lost" high gear. There are some pecualiarities that will keep them from shifting that are usually really easy to find and fix.

Let me know which it is, and we'll go from there.

JON

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OK, here we go.

Something really horrible would have to happen for you to actually lose a gear in one of these transmissions. You'd have to have chunks of metal falling out of the gearbox drain plug for there to be anything wrong with the gearbox.

Check the oil level in the gear box. The filler plug is about four inches above the drain plug, not to be confused with a second plug much higher on the gearbox on the same side. Drain the transmmission, looking at the oil to make sure there's nothing horrible in it, and fill it back up with 30W non-detergent oil. Ignore the 10W spec.

To fill the transmission, buy a bottle of Sta-Lube gear oil and the pump made to fit the bottle. Dump the gear oil into another container, wash out the bottle with gasoline, and use the bottle and pump for whatever you want including filling these transmissions.

Second, slow your engine idle speed. If the engine is idling too fast, the transmmission will not shift when you let off the gas because the engine won't slow down enough for the transmission to synchronize.

If it's still not shifting, disconnent the transmission wiring. On the two small poles of the spark coil, you'll see the two small wires for the ignition system, but you'll see a second set of wires for the transmission. This is where the transmission's electrical components get their electricity. If there's a short in the transmission wiring, the solenoid valve will hang open, and the transmission will not be able to build up enough oil pressure to effect the shift. With the wiring disconnected, the transmission will upshft, but it will not downshift when you come to a stop. You'll have step on the clutch at a stop, and the transmission will downshift.

Try these first, and tell me what you find. If these don't do it, we'll dig into testing and cleaning your governor switch and solenoid valve. It's all easy stuff, and these transmissions are amazingly trouble-free with a few age-related bugs worked out. I'm about to take my 1950 DeSoto from California to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming next month with a transmission like yours.

JON

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  • 7 years later...

If anyone is looking for a two speed automatic (not sure if it's a powerflite)...came from a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker..I have one for sale or trade. Didn't want to see it go to a scrap yard. email me and I can send pictures...

James

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OK, here we go.

Something really horrible would have to happen for you to actually lose a gear in one of these transmissions. You'd have to have chunks of metal falling out of the gearbox drain plug for there to be anything wrong with the gearbox.

Check the oil level in the gear box. The filler plug is about four inches above the drain plug, not to be confused with a second plug much higher on the gearbox on the same side. Drain the transmmission, looking at the oil to make sure there's nothing horrible in it, and fill it back up with 30W non-detergent oil. Ignore the 10W spec.

To fill the transmission, buy a bottle of Sta-Lube gear oil and the pump made to fit the bottle. Dump the gear oil into another container, wash out the bottle with gasoline, and use the bottle and pump for whatever you want including filling these transmissions.

Second, slow your engine idle speed. If the engine is idling too fast, the transmmission will not shift when you let off the gas because the engine won't slow down enough for the transmission to synchronize.

If it's still not shifting, disconnent the transmission wiring. On the two small poles of the spark coil, you'll see the two small wires for the ignition system, but you'll see a second set of wires for the transmission. This is where the transmission's electrical components get their electricity. If there's a short in the transmission wiring, the solenoid valve will hang open, and the transmission will not be able to build up enough oil pressure to effect the shift. With the wiring disconnected, the transmission will upshft, but it will not downshift when you come to a stop. You'll have step on the clutch at a stop, and the transmission will downshift.

Try these first, and tell me what you find. If these don't do it, we'll dig into testing and cleaning your governor switch and solenoid valve. It's all easy stuff, and these transmissions are amazingly trouble-free with a few age-related bugs worked out. I'm about to take my 1950 DeSoto from California to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming next month with a transmission like yours.

JON

Wow, Finally someone gave direct on the spot M-6 fast track upshift advice- if it won't upshift after idle speed and fluid level checks, disconnet the wiring! Right on!!!

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  • 8 years later...

I see this thread is old but i am having similar problems. I have the correct amount of fluid, rpms, and my shifter fork lock screw is tight. I disconnected the solenoid and test drove and it still did not shift. I removed the interupter switch and verified the direct speed rail is moving forward BUT it looks like it is not moving forward enough for the ball on the rail to contact the ball on the interupter switch. I am thinking my piston is sticking but i figured i would ask for advice before i dig that far.

 

This is a fluid-matic transmission in a 53 Chrysler crown imperial my great grandfather bought new in 53  

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Trans full of fluid, idle speed 500 or less...wiring pulled off.solenoid...still will not immediately upshift.....

Trans then most likely will need a new direct speed blocker ring and sleeve.

They do fail...I have replaced quite a few over the years.

20190909_193310.jpg

Edited by c49er (see edit history)
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I took one apart to try and learn how these semi-auto transmissions work. It was broken, and given to me. I studied up, here are my findings. I did this to maybe help others if I could.

Oil pump pressure, piston seals, spinning switch, functioning 6V solenoid, good grounds,  all some of the things this weird little tranny needs, to shift. I am not 100% up on every little action and part inside this tranny but for the most part, I think I got it.

 

 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the replys guys. I'm not really comfortable completely rebuilding it myself so i've been looking for a local mechanic that knows about them but i have not had any luck. If i don't find someone before the end of summer i will try myself. I will be sure to post on this thread what i find out to hopefully help out the next guy

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16 hours ago, dan53 said:

Thanks for the replys guys. I'm not really comfortable completely rebuilding it myself so i've been looking for a local mechanic that knows about them but i have not had any luck. If i don't find someone before the end of summer i will try myself. I will be sure to post on this thread what i find out to hopefully help out the next guy

 

Where are you located Dan? Perhaps we can help rounding up someone who is competent and qualified to work on your transmission.

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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On 4/7/2020 at 9:28 PM, dan53 said:

Thanks for the replys guys. I'm not really comfortable completely rebuilding it myself so i've been looking for a local mechanic that knows about them but i have not had any luck. If i don't find someone before the end of summer i will try myself. I will be sure to post on this thread what i find out to hopefully help out the next guy

It would be a shame if you had to miss a summer of enjoying your car.

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  • 4 months later...
1 hour ago, c49er said:

Fluid-Matic...9-1/2" Part number 1327280

Fluid-Torque Torque Drive...10-1/4" Part 1324558

1953 NY'er Hemi V-8

 

Original part numbers added from my 1953 Parts book.

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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After almost all summer with my car sitting in the garage, i decided to tear it apart myself. I think bob was right, my direct speed ring and sleeve are pretty burred up. In my shop manual, it says "serviced in sleeve and ring package". Also, unrelated, my e-brake is full of oil so i need an extension housing seal, and of course the extension housing to case gasket. Does anyone know where to find these parts?

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